Based on a true story, this weekend's 'Million Dollar Arm' stars Jon Hamm as a fading sports agent who needs a little inspiration to save his career. His brilliant idea? Travel to India and find the next pitching sensation. Here, we give you more sports movies to get inspired by.
Yo, Adrian! Rocky Balboa was a boxer going nowhere about to be served up to champion Apollo Creed as an easy win. But Rocky refused to do anything but his absolute best. He trained harder than he ever had, and in one of filmdom’s greatest montages, made a powerful statement to the stunned surprise of the arrogant champ.
Few sports movies champion the underdog like this bicycle-racing film, which follows four Bloomington, Indiana guys from the wrong side of the tracks who defy all the town's haters and enter the "Little Indy" race. It's a full ten speeds of inspiration.
The gridiron setting of this 1993 drama is merely a framework for a more universal theme for anyone striving to rise above their station in life. The moment wherein Rudy steps onto that Notre Dame football field is a triumph for anyone who has ever been told they can’t accomplish something.
Field of Dreams
Iowa farmer Ray began to hear voices urging him to build a baseball field on his farm--imagine the surprise when legendary, long-deceased players emerged from the cornfield. The moment he finds out why they're visiting him is one of cinema’s most touching (and inspiring) scenes.
Will Smith and director Michael Mann teamed up on this biopic that chronicled the ups and downs of The Greatest's career. In 10 years he went from champion, to stripped of his crown and jailed, to floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee as he reclaimed his crown in a knockout fight against George Forman.
Bend It Like Beckham
This underdog story about an 18-year-old girl determined to play pro football (soccer) despite what her family or society thinks explores all sorts of issues, from cultural prejudice to homosexuality. Through all of it, young Jess keeps her eye on the ball. GOOOOAALL!
Chariots of Fire
Two devout runners--one Christian, one Jewish--battle the odds to compete in the 1924 Olympics. This true story isn't as much about winning the competition as it is about the underlying spirit, devotion and hard work it took to get there. And hey, and what's more inspiring than that Vangelis tune?
A League of Their Own
While the men of America are off fighting in WWII, the ladies of the Rockford Peaches manage to keep spirits high, baseball alive and thriving, and take their skills all the way to the Baseball Hall of Fame. But mostly, warming a drunk like Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) up to the idea of girls playing baseball is *really* something to be proud of.
This basketball favorite appears on just about every underdog list; it’s one of the most rousing rise-to-success movies out there. Against all odds, coach Norman Dale’s (Gene Hackman) experience turns around courtesy of some much-needed support from the team’s all-star player. Suddenly, making it to the state championship becomes a possibility.
Who doesn't love a good tearjerker about a little horse that could and his blind jockey? Together with Seabiscuit's depressed owner and gambling addict trainer, they slowly change the hearts and minds of the country, eventually becoming the champion of the millions affected by the Depression.
In a world packed with rock-solid MMA fighters, estranged brothers Tommy and Brendan are nothing but wannabes desperate to make a buck. However, with innate talent all they need is a little inspiration and some great coaching to bring it out. Eventually they wind up facing off in the biggest mixed martial arts competition of all time.
Not all inspirational movies have to be so earnest. Cute, slapsticky and all positive-feely is this based-on-trutjh story tale about the first Jamaican bobsled team and their underdog journey to the 1988 Olympics. Cue the Bob Marley, mon.
The story may seem too good to be true, but, well, it is, making Miracle all the more powerful. Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) takes his young team to the 1980 Olympics to battle the three-time gold medalists, the Soviets. Even after getting pummeled by the champs during an exhibition game, Brooks pulls it together and leads his team to “The Miracle on Ice.”
Best of the Best
No inspirational-movie list would be complete without this 1989 Eric Roberts starrer about a racially diverse karate team that overcomes all odds to go head to head with the Korean champs? Hey, Chuck Liddell called it his favorite martial arts film--if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for us.